When Jen and I departed on this grand adventure 47 days and some 1500 miles ago, I did so seeking the fabled magic of the road that is said to await those hardy souls willing to approach this great country on a two wheels; I have certainly not been disappointed. I have slept under the roofs of strangers who offered shelter within minutes of meeting our acquaintance. I have made friends from far off places in the world and departed their company with the invitation to rendezvous there with them in the future. I have watched sunsets sink across the Pacific Ocean and cast hues of orange across the water that my eyes had never before seen. I have felt the power of good will propel me forward when drivers of cars repeatedly gave friendly honks and a thumbs up as we climbed the steep mountains of the Sierra under a scorching midday sun. I have been reminded of the true grit of my wife and how fortunate of a man I am to be partnered with such a reliant soul.
I feel like I can safely say that I enjoy riding a bicycle more than the average Joe, and have a bit of saddle time to back the assertion. The truth is however that bike touring is not all shits and giggles, it is a heck of a lot of hard work and can be a fair amount of type two fun. Clint Eastwood once famously said, A man needs to know his limitations (and I would interject, more importantly those of his lovely wife), and recognize when a little change of pace and scenery is called for. A clinically sore bum and a little road fatigue can take the wind out of the touring sails a bit and when Jen and I landed in the comfort of family in one of the most beautiful places on earth a few days ago, we decided to pull the panniers, park the bikes and stay put for a bit.
When you got the time to take, take it all I say.
Old Mormon Emigrant Trail. This path through the Sierra Mountains was blazed by members of the Mormon Battalion who came to California in 1846 to fight in the Mexican-American War. By the time the Battalion reached California the War had ended and many of the men had been separated from families for over a year. In 1848 a group consisting of 47 men, 1 woman, 17 wagons, 150 cattle and 150 horses/mules left behind the promise of wealth working gold claims and set off across the mountains to be reunited with their families and the Church they left behind in the Salt Lake Valley. Climbing the 25 miles of the Emigrant trail took Jenny and I over eight hours, lighting speed compared to the the 5 miles a day this hardy group of individual made over 150 years ago. This was definitely one of the hardest days of the tour and all I could think is that these folks were a heck of a lot tougher than me!